MXA TEAM TESTED: SHORAI KTM 250/350/450SXF LIGHTWEIGHT LITHIUM LFX BATTERY

January 24, 2013
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WHAT IS IT?  The Shorai battery is 33 ounces lighter than the stock KTM Yuasa YTX battery. It uses lithium iron phosphate technology, instead of the traditional lead-acid construction. The recommended Shorai battery for a KTM motocross bike is the LFX14L2-BS12. It has more cranking power than the battery that MXA preferred, the LFX09L2-BS12. Why did we choose the LFX09L2-BS12.? It was lighter and cheaper. However, even though we had no problems starting our test bikes with this battery, Shorai’s recommendation is probably best for col weather, hard starting bikes and multiple uses. Our interests were only motocross use.

WHAT’S IT COST? $114.95 (LFX-09L2-BS12); $156.95 (LFX-14L2-BS12).

CONTACT? (888) 477-4848 or www.shoraibattery.com.

WHAT STANDS OUT? Here’s a list of things that stand out with the Shorai KTM battery.

(1) Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFX). Don’t confuse a lithium iron phosphate battery with the more commonly used lithium ion battery. A lithium iron phosphate battery has a higher resistance to thermal runaway, longer calendar life, quick recharge rate, five times as many available discharge cycles, higher peak-power rating and lower cost. Shorai LFX batteries contain no poisonous lead, no acid and do not create gases during charge (as traditional lead-acid batteries do). Compared to lead acid, Shorai LFX lithium batteries are lighter and deliver a more powerful punch to the starting system. It should be noted that most of the lightweight batteries made for KTMs are iron phosphate?so this isn’t a selling point over the competition.

(2) Weight. When you buy a new KTM 450SXF (and the 450 only) your friendly local dealer is supposed to give you two batteries: a 4.0 amp unit for summer and a 5.0 amp battery for cold-weather starts. Typically, the 4.0 amp battery is in the bike. The stock Yuasa KTM batteries are heavy. The 4.0 amp Yuasa battery weighs 3 pounds, 4 ounces (and the 5.0 amp unit weighs about 1 pound more). In comparison, the Shorai LFX-09L2-GS12 battery weighs 1 pound, 3 ounces. No matter how you cut it, that is a weight savings of 33 ounces (i.e., 2 pounds, 1 ounce). It would take about $2000 worth of titanium to save that much weight on your KTM.

(3) Experience. The MXA wrecking crew has considerable lithium iron phosphate experience via Shorai, Full Sprectrum, Power Parts, Super B and Shorai. We liked the Shorai LFX,because it was a complete package (including self-sticking foam padding to make the battery fit in any battery box).

(4) Downsides. The MXA wrecking crew has had issues with some brands of lightweight batteries. (a) On cold mornings the smaller-power batteries have trouble turning the KTM engine over (if you ride in weather below 50 degrees, you should consider the each companies larger capacity batteries). (b) If you have an electric-start two-stroke, like a KTM 300, you should also go with the larger capacity battery. (c) Aftermarket batteries need to be well padded because we have broken battery cases on some models. (d) We have melted some early LFX batteries. We had none of the above these issues with Shorai, with the caveat that a cold morning is SoCal is 50 degrees.

(5) Performance. We noticed several things.
 
     (a) Two pounds is a lot of weight to save.

     (b) It is rechargeable with a standard-issue lead-acid battery charger (not to exceed 15 volts).

     (c) As the battery warmed up, it seemed to gain amperage and spin the engine faster.

     (d) Cold weather didn’t affect it as much as the stock lead-acid battery.

     (e) Since there is no lead or acid in the lithium iron phosphate batteries, they can be disposed of more easily; however, remember to discharge fully before throwing away.

     (f) Shorai offers a two-year warranty.

     (g) Battery terminals can be mounted to the top or sides of the battery posts.

     (h) There are several Shorai batteries that will work on a KTM. We tried the LFX-09L2-BS12 battery. It produces 135 cold cranking amps (CCA). We also tried the even smaller and lighter LFX-07L2-BS12, which only puts out 102 CCA. The recommended LFX-14L2-BS12 battery pumps out 210 cold cranking amps. On cold days, the smallest battery wouldn’t start our 450SXF first thing (until we bump started it once), but the middle size one would. We never tested the bigger LFX-14L2-BS12 because we didn’t think we needed it.

WHAT’S THE SQUAWK?  No complaints beyond the normal lightweight LFX battery issues.


If it didn’t do anything but save two pounds, we’d be ecstatic. But not only does it save 2 pounds, it starts the bike perfectly.

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